Christmas is always a special time of the year, but considering what a moeilike jaar 2020 has been, this festive season must be extra special.
Celebrating with family and friends has taken on a whole new meaning this year with virtual celebrations, guestlist restrictions and drive-by parties.
Sadly, for many families Christmas 2020 will also be the first Christmas without a loved one or loved ones at the table due to this horrible pandemic.
Food is an important part of the festive season celebrations, from the starters through to the last stukkie dessert.
While this year may not feel like a “normal Christmas”, you can certainly still get the taste of the festive season by having all the family favourites on the table.
The main dishes are always the highlight of my Christmas, it’s the one day I get to enjoy all my favourite vleis on one plate, without the guilt.
It’s the one time I remind myself that “Krismis kom net een keer `n jaar”.
The key to perfecting your Christmas feast is a bit of planning and also giving yourself enough time to prepare your meat.
In my family, we all know our strengths and limitations, so as jy weet jou vleis kook altyd droog, then send it to someone who knows how to cook it.
That person will be in charge of making the meat dishes so that the rest of us are guaranteed a lekker vleis dite on Christmas.
You may want to hit the shops early to stock up on your meat before it’s te laat and only the smallest hampers are left.
To help with your prep and planning, I’ve selected Christmas main ideas, which include a lekker glazed gammon, slow-cooked roast beef and a festive seafood paella to give you a head start.
Slow Roast Pork Belly with Pineapple Glaze
Slow Roast Pork
1kg pork belly, rind scored
65ml (¼ cup) salt
45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
125ml (½ cup) brown sugar
80ml (1/3 cup) white wine vinegar
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick (or 5ml ground cinnamon)
250ml (1 cup) prepared chicken stock
1 x 227g can Rhodes Pineapple Crush
Rub the pork belly with the salt and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
Rinse off the salt and pat dry with kitchen paper towel. Place the belly skin down in a roasting tray.
Drizzle with the olive oil and season with the black pepper.
Roast at 200˚C for 30 minutes.
Turn the heat down to 180˚C and roast for a further 1 hour.
Turn the belly over, skin side up, and roast for a further 20 minutes or until the skin is crisp and golden.
To make the glaze, bring the brown sugar and the vinegar to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until syrupy.
Add the star anise, cinnamon, chicken stock and Rhodes Pineapple Crush.
Bring the glaze to the boil again and then simmer over a gentle heat until thickened.
To serve, carve the roasted pork belly and pour some of the pineapple glaze over the meat, serving any extra glaze on the side.
Pineapple Gammon Glaze
Recipe by Rhodes Quality
1 medium smoked or prepared gammon
1 x 825g can Rhodes Pineapple Rings in Light Syrup, drained, syrup reserved
65ml ( ¼ cup) maraschino cherries
190ml ( ¾ cup) brown sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) ground Hinds ginger
Remove the skin and fat from the gammon and place in a roasting pan.
Using toothpicks, secure the Rhodes Pineapple Rings and maraschino cherries to the gammon and set aside.
Heat 125ml (½ cup) reserved pineapple syrup, sugar and Hinds ginger in a small saucepan, stirring continuously until the sugar dissolves and the glaze thickens.
Brush the glaze all over the gammon and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.
Baste again and bake for a further 15 minutes until browned and glossy.
Whole roasted peri-peri chicken
Cooking from the Heart 1
1 tbsp (15ml) sunflower oil
Black pepper to taste
1 tbsp (15ml) tomato paste
2 tsp (10ml) peri-peri or to taste
2 tbsp (30ml) lemon juice
2-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp (5ml) paprika
1.2kg whole chicken, skin and all fat removed
6 potatoes, quartered
½ tsp (2.5ml) salt
½ cup (125ml) water
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix the oil with all the seasonings, except the salt, in the bowl. Spread some of this paste over the chicken. Place chicken in a large oven dish.
Toss the potatoes with the remaining paste and place in the oven dish around the chicken. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pour the water into the oven dish.
Cover with foil and roast chicken and potatoes for 30 min. Remove foil, toss potatoes in liquid and roast for another 30 min or until cooked. Serve with green veggies or a salad.
Chicken bones can be used for homemade stock.
If your oven is big enough, double the recipe and make 2 chickens. Use the other chicken for another meal.
Roast Christmas Lamb
2kg lamb on the bone
30ml brown sugar
125ml fresh parsley, chopped
150g margarine, melted
15ml Robertsons cumin
15ml Robertsons cinnamon
15ml Robertsons ginger
1 x Knorr Beef Stock Pot
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Heat a heavy-based dry pan and toast the cumin, chillies, ginger and pepper until fragrant.
Remove from the heat and add the salt, sugar and parsley.
Beat the margarine until light and add the spice mixture, beating well together.
Spread the spice paste all over the meat, getting it into the cuts and rubbing it in well.
Dissolve the Knorr Beef Stock Pot in 125ml hot water.
Put the meat in a large roasting pan and add the stock.
Roast for 30 minutes per 500g of lamb until tender and juicy.
Pour the pan juices into a small saucepan and reduce.
Serve with meat.
Festive Seafood Paella
60ml olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
15ml garlic crushed
2 pinches saffron (optional)
3 x Knorr Chicken Stock Pot
3 red peppers, finely diced
20ml Robertsons Spice for Fish
5ml Robertsons turmeric
1x 400g tin tomatoes, chopped
5ml brown sugar
1.75 litre water
1kg assorted seafood, sliced (calamari, hake, mussels and prawns)
250ml frozen green peas
60ml fresh parsley, chopped
Lemon wedges to serve
4 cups of white rice
Heat olive oil in a large, deep pot then add the onion and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
Add the saffron, Knorr Chicken Stock pot, red pepper, Spice for Fish and turmeric and allow to cook to release the flavour and aroma, stirring continuously.
Add the tinned tomatoes, sugar and white rice and stir to combine, then add the water and stir through.
Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and allow to simmer on a low heat with the lid on for 10 min.
Add the seafood and allow to simmer for 10 min stirring occasionally with the lid on.
Stir in the frozen green peas and allow to simmer for a further 10 min stirring occasionally.
Season (to taste) then stir through the parsley before serving.
Tip: For increased nutrition use brown rice; just remember to parboil it slightly beforehand.
Slow-Cooked Roast Beef with Tomato Gravy
1.5kg boneless beef roast (topside, brisket or similar)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5ml (1tsp) dried mixed herbs
45ml (3tbsp) sunflower oil
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 x 115g Rhodes Tomato Paste Sachet
250ml (1 cup) red wine (optional)
500ml (2 cups) prepared beef stock
1 x 410g can Rhodes Chopped & Peeled Tomatoes
2 bay leaves
30ml (2 tbsp) corn flour mixed with a little water to form a paste
Season the beef with the salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Heat the oil in a large stove to oven saucepan or casserole dish and sear the beef on all sides to brown. Set aside.
In the same pan, add the onions and cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
Add the garlic and fry for a few minutes more.
Stir in the Rhodes Tomato Paste and the red wine. Using a wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the beef stock and the Rhodes Chopped & Peeled Tomatoes and bring to the boil.
Return the beef to the pan and cover tightly with the lid or tin foil.
Transfer the beef to an oven that has been preheated to 160˚C and braise for 3 hours or until the meat is tender.
Remove the beef from the casserole and bring the gravy to the boil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
If the gravy is not thick enough, stir in the corn flour paste and stir until the gravy thickens. Slice the roast and serve with the gravy.
Cooking Tip: Add roasted potatoes and a side dish to create a feast.